To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

July 12, 2011

Unscrupulous politicians cashing in on Africa's land deals

by Andile Sokomani
The nascent but growing academic research and significant media attention around the recent spate of farmland acquisitions in Africa and other developing countries present some food for thought, if not thought for food. The news stories and research reports are peppered with haunting narratives of marauding multinational companies and acquiescent national governments intent on gobbling up swathes of farmland with scant regard for the food and livelihood security of local communities.

'Land grabbing' is the favoured term for describing this allegedly new neo-colonial drive by foreign companies and governments to acquire prime African agricultural land at ridiculously low prices. The culprits this time around are not just the usual suspects. Governments and agricultural corporations from the Middle East and South East Asia have joined North American and European multinationals in the 'new scramble' for African farmland.

While effective in capturing the popular imagination, these narratives tend to over-simplify and over-dramatise a fairly complex, multilayered, nuanced process. As some scholars have argued, they conceal the considerable degrees of attrition involved between proposed and concluded deals, as well as concluded deals and actual investments. The fact that most lands being allocated are on the basis of lease rather than absolute grant or sale is also in danger of distortion. The overemphasis on African states as victims of villainous foreign firms and governments also risks obscuring more significant but not necessarily obvious dynamics behind land acquisitions, including the role of domestic elites who have little qualms about using public office to advance private personal interests. As emotive as it may be, the phenomenon of land deals in Africa warrants more sober analysis...

more...Institute for Security Studies

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP